Living a Fourth Quarter Offense

7 Ways to Start Living with a Sense of Urgency

NFL teams score approximately 30 percent more points in the 4th quarter than they do in the 1st quarter.  If you’re a football fan, this shouldn’t surprise you.  The success of the “two-minute drill” is astounding.  With only 60 minutes to play, I would think a team should treat each second of the first two minutes of a game as sacredly as the last two.  Of course, there are physical stamina issues in an NFL game to consider, but conceptually I hold my ground.

In our lives, very few of us have physical stamina issues to consider in regards to achieving our dreams.  However, why do so many of us live life like it’s the first quarter instead of the fourth quarter?

I’ll get to that later.
Tomorrow, I’ll tackle that.
Maybe next year, I’ll launch out on my own.
I’m not ready for that yet.

Sound familiar?

Living with “fourth quarter” passion has nothing to do with age.  I’m reminding us all that our time on Earth is limited, there is no tomorrow.  Today is the only day where anything can be achieved.  Truly.

Here are seven ways to consider when transitioning from first-quarter living to fourth-quarter living?

  1. Gratitude.  Spend at least five minutes a day reviewing the things in your life for which you are thankful.  Be sure to include “time” – be grateful for the time you have been given and for the time you have in front of you.
  2. Don’t count sheep at night.  Instead, repeat the word “now” fifty, yes — 50, times before you go to sleep at night.  In the morning, repeat the word “now” during your morning routine.  Play with the word – now, now!, now?, now?! but just keep repeating it.
  3. Move the needle.  Assume your progress towards achieving your dreams is being monitored on a gauge.  Are your actions moving the needle forward?  Sometimes, we fool ourselves into thinking we are taking actions towards achieving our dreams by stay busy, but “busy” isn’t synonymous with “productive.”  Need a litmus test – imagine you had only one month to achieve your dream, what would you be working on and what would you let go?
  4. Measure.  Quantify an element that is central to your success and then measure it, every single day.  Further, place your measurement on a chart in a location that is highly visible to you.  The power of visually seeing the progress, or lack of progress, towards your goal cannot be understated.   If you think you have a dream that you would like to achieve that cannot be quantified, contact me.  I am certain that I can assist in disabusing you of that notion.
  5. Peer Pressure.  Many people do not share their dreams because they fear that if they don’t achieve them that they will appear foolish to those that know about the dream.  You are not going to lose.  This is the fourth quarter, you need all of the help that you can get.  Let the world know what you intend to achieve, or at least let a few close friends know.  There is unspeakable power in this single act.  You will find yourself shifting into fourth quarter living when your reputation is at risk.In writing this, I’ve motivated myself.  “My dream is to become a New York Times best-selling author.”  There I said it.  You can too. 
  6. Flip the script on your fears.  Between you and your dream is a substantial amount of fear around which there is no path.  You will have to go through this fear head on – fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of rejection, etc.  There are no loopholes.  To make matters worse, each day that passes where you ignore or avoid these fears, they grow stronger.  These fears have been haunting you for so long, isn’t it exhausting?  Isn’t it boring?  There is a lyric from a Ray LaMontagne song that I often reference when my fears are getting the best of me

    “Well, I looked my demons in the eyes
    laid bare my chest, said “Do your best, destroy me.
    You see, I’ve been to hell and back so many times,
    I must admit you kind of bore me.”

  7. Never wait for motivation.  Motivation is a thief – a thief of time and opportunity.  He promises to call soon.  He promises to spend more time with you.  Motivation arrives through one path, and one path only – action.  Action creates motivation.  The grand illusion is that motivation creates action.  In the first quarter, we can believe this fallacy, but in the fourth quarter, it’s time to admit that motivation is a lark.  Action creates motivation.  Therefore, no matter how beat down you may feel, if you want to motivation to join you in your travels, you must act first.  Action – now, now, now, now, now, now . .
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